Bone suckin 'n finger lickin good.
A warm summer day, a carnival/party atmosphere, the mouth-watering smell of meat 'n sauce flavoured barbecue smoke, free parking and admission, live rock 'n roll, and beer! that's the makings of an excellent day trip experience!
Ribs are king here, and pork dominates. Since all the participants buy from a single wholesaler, (I believe 'Maple Leaf' in this case), and the prices are the same from all vendors, the differences come from the smoking, marinating, and cooking techniques plus, of course, the sweet and spicy bbq sauces.
Although my personal mission was to bring home some pulled pork for homemade sandwiches, I did nibble at a few ribs and found them tasty enough, but I guess I'm just not a enough of a devotee to believe they were worth $20 a rack. I sampled as many sauces as I could, and most were complex and smoky, but all used cheap fructose/glucose to add sweetness and profit.
Sure there was some hustle going on with the price markups on $5 french fries, $8 onions, $5 beer (two choices, light or regular), popcorn, lemonade, and mini-donuts (all with inexpensive ingredients), but you have to factor in the value of the social experience. Families of all kinds were having fun together, meeting and talking, sharing a common meal.
My take-home pulled pork ($10 per pound) was delicious inside a fresh bun from Nino D'Aversa Bakery. And a bag of the amazing 'Sweet and Salty' popcorn barely lasted an hour once opened at home to accompany a dvd movie.
Even after leaving the Ribfest grounds I'd catch that smoky smell off my clothes and my beard, and be instantly transported back.
Courtesy of a rib fan, there's a published Calendar Of Ontario Ribfests